Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What I Read: April

Ritchie and I listened to this on the way to CA in the car. Such a cute story! Not one of my favorite books of all time, but definitely a cute read (or listen! We loved the narrator). 

The rest of the month of April was spent on this beast. This 700 some odd page book didn't feel as long as it was. It's not a quick read, but the story definitely pulls you through. This book is FULL of possible triggers. If sexual abuse, trauma, cutting, suicide or just general fucked up ness bothers you, then DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. It's heavy on ALL of these topics. That's all I'm going to say because too much more would give it all away. It's moving and thought provoking and is a true testament to love and strength under the most impossible of circumstances. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Here We Go Again...

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Do you want to hear something really embarrassing about me? A psychic once said I would marry a good man, the one I was with (which was Ritchie) and that we would soon buy our first home (which we did) and that we would have 3 children, 2 biological and 1 adopted. Because the first two things happened pretty soon after his predictions, I naturally believed the third one to be true as well. When we found out Ben was a boy, I knew right then that was all part of the "plan". We had two boys and would adopt a girl and be done! Wow! Psychics really can predict the future!

Fast forward 2 years. We're in the adoption process and then BAM. Pregnant. A third biological child. Psychics make for terrible birth control. Okay, so we'll have 4 kids! No big deal! On with the plan with one minor hiccup. 

Fast forward 7 months. We decide to move to Washington. We knew this would alter our adoption plans to some degree. We'd have to redo our home study (which we'd have to do when Crosby was born anyway) and Ritchie took a significant pay cut when we moved, so saving money to continue the adoption would be slower. 

Fast forward 2 months. Crosby is born and we find out he has a heart condition. We don't know what the next year looks like for him and we're scared and overwhelmed and all we know is we definitely cannot handle two small children with medical needs. We change our adoption medical profile to be a girl who also has a minor heart condition, which keeps us on track for adoption but extends our time to be matched by 12-18 months. 

Fast forward one year. Crosby is one. He has had no changes in his condition and hasn't required surgery. Once he reached the one year mark, his chances for needing surgery immediately went down. We're also understanding and more comfortable with what it looks and feels like to have a child with a medical need. Once you get past the shock, it feels more manageable to us. I start really having the desire to complete our adoption. 

Conversations begin to open up again. Ritchie and I both have the heart for adoption, we always have. We'd both LOVE to welcome another child (a girl, because, frankly, there's enough boys around here) into our family. The problem now is that we'd need to come up with over $20,000 to complete our adoption. We could do that, but it would take a few years and put a lot of other financial goals on hold. 

We've discussed other avenues of adoption before and nothing ever felt quite right to us until now. Very recently we opened the discussion again of fostering to adopt. I've reached out to other families doing this in our community and have heard some amazing stories and felt really inspired. Ritchie immediately opened up to this idea and, last week, we turned in our application to be licensed for fostering and adopting locally. 

There are many, many, amazing things about fostering. Opening your home to children in need of love and support during a frightening time is rewarding and teaches our own children about community and compassion. That said, this journey will not be without struggles. I'm not wearing my rose colored glasses here. I'm mentally preparing myself for the largest devastation my heart has ever endured. My biggest fear is falling in love with a child and then having to give her back to her birth mom/dad/grandparent. This will likely happen. A good foster parent IS attached to their foster child and has a child attach to them as well. This is part of the process.  It may happen a few times before we're placed with a child whose parents will have their rights terminated so that we can adopt. 

This will not be easy. So many logistics. Parent visits, phone calls, readjusting to a new child, then saying goodbye, then welcoming another one. We're open to newborns, so we're facing sleepless nights again. Tons and tons of unknowns. We will not know that the little girl we have will be ours forever until the courts finalize everything. Up until that last minute, it could always change. 

There's all of that, yes. HOWEVER, I hold out hope that one day we WILL adopt a girl who needs a family and our family will be complete and all of that heartache and headache and pain and hoop jumping will be 100% worth it. I know that ultimately we will not regret one moment of this decision. 

And so... here we go again. This life, 3 boys and foster care and adopting locally and maybe even an open adoption. This was all NOTHING I had ever dreamed of. And certainly the psychic never saw this coming! But, here we are. I'll update more as I know more, but for now we're just working on getting licensed. We should be done by September and welcoming our first placement of a little girl up to three years of age by the end of this year. 

For now, we hang on tight and enjoy the ride. And we stop trusting psychics. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Crosby is ONE

Our cute baby turned ONE a few weeks ago. What can I say about this unexpected joy that we have in our life?

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Okay, first let me tell you about the day! We took the boys to a kangaroo farm and got to see a ton of awesome animals and have a lot of interactions with them. It was a really cool experience.

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The big boys got most of the action that day since Crosby was in the carrier, but he did LOVE looking at the animals and got to touch a kangaroo and a mule.

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After lunch and nap we took the kids to Build-A-Bear, which is a tradition for us on each first birthday. The kids all still have their animals from when they turned one. Crosby chose the "Thin Mint Bear" which was pretty ridiculous, but it was the only one he got excited about.

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Then we had dinner and cake and called it a day! It was SO much fun celebrating as a family of 5.

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Crosby is the funniest little guy. He's energetic and stubborn and determined. He scoots along with one hand a leg all day long, opening cabinets, pulling out toys and snacks and racing to get to splash in the dog water. He LOVES to be around his brothers and isn't intimidated by them in any way. He holds his own. He's pulling himself up more and more, but I do think he'll be our latest walker and predict he'll start around 16 months. He's our strongest communicator for this age. He says, "dada, mama, ni-ni (night night), ball, uh-oh, and whoa" he signs for "more" and "all done" but mostly just grunts and stares and points until we cave and give him more or clean him up :) Sadly, he is NOT a smuggler, but he does give the world's best kisses. He loves animals, including his stuffed animals. He showers them with more affection than any human. He's about 21 pounds now and is the tiniest of our children for his age. His heart has remained unchanged since birth which is great for us! We get to just keep waiting to do anything more about it, and for now, I'll take that!

I never pictured my life with three boys, and Crosby was nowhere in our plans, but I'm SO freaking happy that life doesn't usually go according to my plans. Crosby is a gift to our family and we all love him SO SO SO much!

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Happiest of birthdays to you, my sweet boy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What I Read: March

I listened to this through Audible and the author was the narrator. It was an AMAZING listen. I highly recommend listening to it. The author is a minister and it's very religious, but even if that's not your thing, don't let it put you off. His work with gang members in Los Angeles is important and makes anyone want to move forward in life with a more compassionate heart. 

This was a YA book about a girl who dies and her mother seeks out why/how because she doesn't believe the results of the initial investigation on her daughter's death. I liked how the story wove itself together and it was a quick, easy mystery read if you're ever in the mood for that sort of thing! 

This was my book club book for the month. I've read a lot of Jodi Picoult and have always really loved the way she tells stories and this book was no exception! Such a great read and with a surprising element of elephant grief that I didn't expect to like, but really did. 

Yikes, I think I'm officially behind with my reading again! March was redo the kitchen month so reading got pushed a bit. Time to pick up speed! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kitchen Reveal Part 1

I say part one because there's still a bit more to do, but that won't be done for awhile so until then... here's the NEW(ish) kitchen! 

First let's look at what we were dealing with just 3 short weeks ago... 

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Here is what the kitchen looks like today: 

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First I tackled painting everything white. Then we did the ardex countertops on the main sink/prep area. Next we tackled the buffet area. Lastly, we hired someone to do the subway tile and Ritchie put on the hardware. The whole process took about 3.5 weeks and we still have a few things left to do. We need to replace the island countertops with butcher block, get different dining chairs and hang a bamboo shade for the window. 

The transformation is HUGE in this space. I can't even believe that a month ago the kitchen was an ugly oak kitchen with blue laminate counters. I'm thrilled with the change and the kitchen is definitely my favorite room in the house now! 

Five and a Half

Maxton is 5 and a half years old. Everyone out there with a newborn? Don't blink - just don't. I can't believe how fast time is flying. He starts Kindergarten in just 5 months. AHHH!! School age!

Anyway, what can I say about Max at 5 and a half?

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He's totally come into his own. He knows what he likes and doesn't and STRICTLY sticks to the things he likes. His likes include video games, tv shows, baseball, bubbles, oatmeal, board games, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, raw veggies, legos, bike riding (finally!), his dad, Bennett, his best friend Quinn, short sleeve t-shirts, gymnastics, reading, weapons, dress up, and helping in the kitchen if it involves knives or fire.

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He has recently decided that he dislikes hugs and kisses, especially from MOM. So sad. He's just too cool for them. He's also gained a competitive edge the past six months and must be the winner of all things. Games, running, etc. We're trying to humble him a bit while continuing this burst of confidence because it's nice to see him feeling so proud of himself, but also not so great when he loses and it's someone else's fault.

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He continues to be extremely sweet, but has also started rough housing his brothers more than usual. There's a LOT of boy energy in him and that's new. When he was little he was always really calm and that's not the case anymore. The great news is he's quick to apologize and typically does not repeat bad behavior once it's discussed with him.

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He's started READING in the past few months and mommy is THRILLED! Such a fun accomplishment! He does such a great job with it also. He's also starting to spell a bit (no more spelling words for us) and is counting to 100 easily (and loudly!) He writes his name and his family member's names and can write numbers 1-20. I'd say he's ready for K and while I'm nostalgic about the quickness of time, I'm also really excited about what's ahead.

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I just asked him what he wants to do for work when he grows up and he said, "Nothing. I can't tell you."

That made me laugh. He's really funny. He doesn't love jokes or "typical" humor, but he's got this funny way of making our whole family laugh. I wish I could describe it better... he's just goofy and quirky.

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He LOVES sharing a room with Bennett and misses him greatly if Ben naps without him or something. He's a people person and prefers to be surrounded by others. Good thing theres a lot of Lincolns!

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He started t-ball this spring and is working VERY hard on mastering cartwheels at home. He'll join gymnastics again this summer and keep with t-ball. I'd like to get him playing an instrument as well because he used to adore music and we've lost that a bit in the past year.

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He's very inquisitive. Always asking a question and wanting to know more about how the world around him works. If we don't know the answer he gets irritated, often saying, "Mom, you have to TELL me!" Haha! He likes information to be accurate as well and he will correct you if you're wrong.

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He's anti-girl right now, so I'm not his favorite person. When I get an "I love you" or some Max sweetness I feel VERY special.

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I like that he strives to be better at things and is gaining confidence. When I do something that makes Max smile, it makes me feel like a million bucks. There's a strong desire in me to make Max happy. He's the child I worry the most about and there's positives and negatives to that, but mostly I think it's because he's my first and everything with him is new territory for me.

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He's all boy now. Big boy, too. I'm so insanely proud of the big boy he's becoming. Sometimes I get a glimpse of "man" and it both freaks me out and excites me. I hope he'll still want to hang with his mom when he's grown and I hope I get to see a lot of Max's smiles for the rest of my life.

Monday, March 2, 2015

What I Read: February

This is a YA book about twins who experience a tragedy and learn to come into their own through art, loss and finding their way back to each other. It's quirky and I struggled with the writing style in the beginning, but quickly began to adore it. The story is one that reminded me how painful and messy and beautiful life really is. By the time I was done, I didn't want it to end. 

Ok... so, I'll start by saying that this book has over 7,000 reviews on Amazon with 4.5 stars and I've heard RAVE reviews from everyone I've ever heard has read it (nobody I know personally, but book bloggers, podcasters etc..). I expected to LOVE this book. I was intimidated by it because it's over 500 pages (my typical book length is around 400) and the synopsis sounded boring. Plus, it's a WWII novel. I'm not a big history buff and typically shy away from period or war pieces. BUT, this was my book club book so now I finally had a great reason to just get over myself and read the damn thing. 
I didn't HATE it. But, I certainly did not love it. I don't know that I can even say I liked it. It moved along okay... and was sort of interesting sometimes? That's it, guys. That's the best I can give you. Why this book gets rave reviews is beyond me. I'm glad I'm done reading it. 

How much can I say about a book without giving too much away? This was the PERFECT book for me to read after the aforementioned snooze-fest above. I needed something compulsive and in present times. If you loved the Serial podcast, I think you'd LOVE this book. Let's just say my jaw dropped more than once and I'll leave it at that! It's only a $3 kindle purchase right now, so if you read that way then go for it! It's worth $3 for sure! 

I listened to this one and I have to say... it felt a little like torture. I made myself get through it because I'm stubborn like that, but MAN - it was rough. It's a murder mystery and I just didn't care about any of the characters at all. I know quite a few people who have loved this book, but I just couldn't get on board. 

I've heard mixed reviews on this book, but I liked it a lot! I haven't actually laughed out loud from a book in a long time and I was laughing so much that Ritchie asked me what was so funny on several occasions. If you're sensitive to women being objectified and just general "female bashing" I guess (spoiler alert - his wife cheats on him which leads him to sort of generally feel negatively about women.) then you might not like this. If you're able to understand the context and read deeper into the reasoning behind the language, then you might find it hilarious, as I did. 

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